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Selasa, 24 Agustus 2021

United Nations chief voices concerns for Afghanistan after receiving credible reports of human rights violations - ABC News

The United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, says her office has received credible reports of serious human rights violations in areas of Afghanistan that have been under Taliban control.

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, Ms Bachelet urged the Taliban to respect the rights of women, as well as ethnic and religious minorities.

She voiced grave concern at the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban swept into power, saying their treatment of women is a "fundamental red line".

The High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed that indulging in rights violations would undermine the legitimacy of the Taliban, both with the Afghan people and internationally.

"A fundamental red line will be the Taliban's treatment of women and girls," she said, urging, "respect for their rights to liberty, freedom of movement, education, self-expression and employment".

The militants have repeatedly promised a different kind of rule to their brutal regime of the 1990s that saw women confined to their homes, most entertainment banned, and stonings and public executions used as punishments.

During a press conference on Tuesday, a Taliban spokesperson said the group is trying to come up with a procedure to return women to work. 

But their rebranding is being treated with scepticism, and large crowds continue to mass outside Kabul airport desperately seeking evacuation, terrified of facing life under the Taliban.

Sharp increase in civilian casualties

Australian soldiers in Afghanistan
The UN says Afghanistan saw a sharp increase in civilian casualties in recent months.(

ADF file photo: Corporal Hamish Paterson

)

Most of the diplomats taking part virtually in Tuesday's special session of the Geneva-based council voiced alarm at the situation, with particular concern for women and girls.

Speaking on behalf of more than 60 countries, Spanish ambassador Aurora Diaz-Rato called for the "immediate cessation of targeted killings of women's rights defenders".

US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya meanwhile stressed that "hard-won advancements in respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms over the last 20 years, particularly for women and members of minority groups, must be maintained."

Even before the Taliban takeover, the UN says Afghanistan saw a sharp increase in civilian casualties in recent months.

Ms Bachelet said her office had received credible reports of serious violations in places that have been under Taliban control, including summary executions, restrictions of women's rights, blocking girls from attending school and recruitment of child soldiers.

Ms Bachelet called for strong action to investigate reports of rights abuses.

"At this critical moment, the people of Afghanistan look to the Human Rights Council to defend and protect their rights," she said.

Nasir Ahmad Andisha, the Afghan ambassador to the UN in Geneva appointed under the now collapsed government of ex-president Ashraf Ghani and who continues to represent his country, made clear that he wanted to see strong action.

He urged council members to deliver "a strong message to all parties including the Taliban that abuses and violations of human rights … will have consequences."

Rights groups had called for the council to establish an international fact-finding mission to assess the situation on the ground and seek to document violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, with the view to ensuring accountability.

But a draft resolution presented on Monday to the council only recommended that Ms Bachelet present a report on the rights situation in Afghanistan during the main annual council session next March, drawing condemnation.

A number of countries who otherwise would have pushed for the resolution to go further had held back for fear that a stronger response could anger the Taliban and jeopardise access for evacuations from the country, according to several diplomatic sources.

CIA Director heads to Kabul

Meanwhile, the director of the CIA has reportedly met with the Taliban’s top political leader in Kabul.

A US official said that CIA Director William Burns visited Kabul on Monday to meet with Abdul Ghani Baradar .

The official told The Associated Press the meeting between Mr Burns and Baradar came amid the ongoing evacuations at the Kabul airport.

The Washington Post, citing US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, first reported the meeting.

The White House and a CIA representative declined to comment and a Taliban spokesman said he was not aware of the meeting.

Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane along the perimeter at the international airport in Kabu
The Taliban says crowds of Afghans thronging Kabul airport seeking a flight out of the country could go home.(

AP: Shekib Rahmani

)

The Taliban also said on Tuesday they had not agreed to an extension of the August 31 deadline set by the United States to pull out of Afghanistan and that they wanted all evacuations to end by that date.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the crowds of Afghans thronging Kabul airport seeking a flight out of the country could go home.

"We guarantee their security," he told a news conference. He also said there was no list of people targeted for reprisals.

"We have forgotten everything in the past," he said.

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The Taliban are back. What happens now?

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2021-08-24 14:30:48Z
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